Remembering March and the ECQ

Who would have thought that 2020 would be so full of promise and despair at the same time? The infamous lockdown of 2020 has caused much tribulation to the country, and admittedly, independent presses like Rebo Press Book Publishing were hit hard by the pandemic.

For two months, the press stood still, with no work being possible because of provincial lockdowns. Our authors could do nothing but wait, hoping and praying that the pandemic would soon abate, so that the tight lockdowns would also begin to lift. During this time, Maria Kristelle C. Jimenez and Marius D. Carlos, Jr.: the two forerunners of the publishing house decided to pitch in.

Stuck in Mabalacat City, with no way to attend events and perform work outside of the province, Kristelle and Marius chose to help their barangay by providing several dozen meal packs and improvised respirators to the barangay frontliners.

(IMAGE | REYNAND MANAOIS)

Knowing full well that this was a collective effort, the founder of the press, Kristelle, decided to divert all currents sales of the books “Field Trip at iba pang Kuwentong Nineties and Two Thousands”, “Salamin: Mga Personal na Prosa”, “bad•ya”, and “Internetito: Facebook Essays and Random Kuwento” to the small relief effort, so that the press can act in solidarity with other members of civil society.

According to Kristelle, much had to be done back in March, but every little bit helped. “I cooked for our barangay frontliners here in Mabalacat because it was important for them to receive food aid in such trying times.” The food packs were received by the centralized barangay staff and were delivered to barangay outposts. Kristelle continued that “it was important also to create improvised respirators because the cost of respirators has gone overboard, but we did have access to softdrink bottles and diapers, which could serve as modified filters.”

COVID-19 continues to ravage the globe, and independent publishers are fighting hard this year to stay afloat and to continue bringing quality books to Filipino readers.

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